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College of Education Announces Funded Professorship in Special Education

By: Brady W Moore   Published 1:17 pm / February 13, 2018

Alan and Wendy Pesky, long-time supporters of education at Boise State University and across the country, recently named Evelyn Johnson to the College of Education’s first funded professorship.

The goal of the Alan and Wendy Professorship in Special Education is to support a faculty member whose work is concentrated in improving educational opportunities for students with learning and attention challenges.

Photo of Evelyn Johnson (right) with Alan and Wendy Pesky (center) and Rich Osguthorpe, dean of the College of Education.

Evelyn Johnson (right) with Alan and Wendy Pesky (center) and Rich Osguthorpe, dean of the College of Education.

Johnson is both a professor in the Department of Early and Special Education and the scientific director of the Lee Pesky Learning Center.

“My research focuses on three main areas — early detection of learning disabilities, scaling comprehensive interventions for students with learning and attention challenges, and building the capacity of teachers to meet the needs of students with learning and attention challenges,” said Johnson.

Alan and Wendy Pesky founded the Lee Pesky Learning Center in 1997, headquartered in Boise, in honor of their son Lee, who passed away in 1995 at age 30 from a brain tumor. As a child, Lee had to learn skills to overcome dysgraphia, a problem with organizing letters, numbers and words on a line or page.

The center created in his name focuses on giving children and adults with learning disabilities, as well as those less privileged, the tools they need to succeed in school. The center also works with teachers around Idaho to give them the updated tools and information on the latest developments in teaching techniques and research findings.

“Wendy and I feel strongly that greater recognition is needed in Idaho, and the country, for teachers who dedicate their lives to educate our children,” said Alan Pesky. “For the past 22 years we have concentrated our energy and efforts in this pursuit. We are especially interested in the 20 percent of our population that have learning disabilities and that is why we have established The Alan and Wendy Professorship in Special Education at Boise State’s College of Education. It is our hope that together we will create one of the leading programs in the country for teachers seeking a degree in special education.”

“This professorship provides Dr. Johnson the time and resources to bolster the development of her cutting-edge research agenda and connect that research to improving educational outcomes for all learners,” said Rich Osguthorpe, dean of the College of Education. “This position also strengthens the collaboration between the College of Education and Lee Pesky Learning Center, providing opportunities for our students to work with Dr. Johnson in her exciting role as scientific director. This extraordinary level of support from Alan and Wendy Pesky is a wonderful example of how to make a positive impact on education and make a difference through research.”